Are you one who shares their recipes, secret ingredients and all? Or are you the kind who gives your recipe but sneakily leaves out that one addition that makes it great? I recently discovered, almost by accident, a "secret" ingredient - strong coffee.
A few weeks ago, I made cold-brewed coffee and My Beloved and I have been enjoying tall glasses of iced coffee ever since. It's a hit in this household - powerful and smooth, it has jazzed up several sagging afternoons.
Fast forward to last night, when I was making a quick pasta sauce with meatballs. Squeezed Italian sausage out of its casing to brown in a wide skillet, then removed the "meatballs" and sautéed garlic chips, chopped onion and chunked mushrooms in the same pan. Added a 16 ounce can of organic tomato sauce, two fresh chopped tomatoes, a handful of dried herbs (use your imagination) and a big glug of red wine. Simmered for about half an hour, then turned it off and went about my day, returning at dinner time to simmer it again. It was good in that rich and friendly way that Italian food always is, but not spectacular until I added the secret ingredient.
A splash of that crazy-good coffee. The sauce darkened and deepened dramatically, changing from Margaret to Sophia Loren. The coffee also made the sauce just a little too bitter, so I added about two teaspoons of sugar and stirred it all in together. Tossed with some straw and hay fettucine from Eduardo's of San Francisco, it was like love - messy, delightful and lifegiving. Next time you make red sauce, don't forget the secret ingredient.
Labels: coffee, cold-brewing, Italian sausage, pasta, tomatoes